76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Don't get me wrong, Jen Lancaster is still pretty funny. Her writing style is always conversational and witty, and her books feel like long letters from a cool friend. But I have to admit it: I only laughed out loud ONCE during this entire book. That's still not bad, because most books don't make me laugh out loud ever. But after Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? made me put down the book multiple times because I couldn't stop giggling, I guess the bar for "hilarious book" just got too high.
I suppose, if you are a memoir-writer and have had four books on the New York Times bestseller list, eventually it becomes inevitable that you have to stop cracking jokes about your rotten luck, crappy apartment and trashy neighbors, and start writing about your rich, classy friends and eating meals that cost more than my mortgage payment. I mean, she's a really successful author at this point, she'd be lying if she continued making fun of how lame her life is because it obviously is not! Think about it, does anybody really think Jeff Foxworthy has even SEEN a redneck in the last decade? I don't begrudge her success, she deserves it. But, I'm finding myself less able to relate to her life.
If you have read her other books and enjoyed them, you'll probably enjoy this too. But if you're new to the author and thinking of picking something up, start with her earlier books: a) so you can get the backstory on everything she's talking about and b) because they're funnier. I LIKED My Fair Lazy, it was fun to read...just not as much as her other work.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2010
I discovered Jenn Lancaster's books a few years ago. Bought the first one off a discount rack, read it, and immediately bought the next two. I toted that to ladies beach week and eagerly shared them and turned everyone in the condo into a Jennfanatic. They all bought there own copies of the books, we read excepts aloud, roaring with laughter. Her sharp wit and brass balls made a wonderful week at the beach that much more memorable.
So I waited impatiently for the release of her latest book. I barely made it home before pulling it out of the bag, settling on the sofa with a glass of wine, and digging into what I hoped would be another side-splitting, snarky adventure through Jennsylvania.
To my very sad shock, Jennsylvania had been transformed into Pretentiousnation. I literally had to force myself through each chapter. But I wasn't going to give up, because I had such high hopes that maybe, just maybe, Jenn would thrash her way through the self-indulgent naval-gazing and bring home the snark.
Sadly, she never did. I found myself, instead of laughing out loud, snorting in disgust and rolling my eyes over her continuous, pretentious, name-dropping and life-styles-of-the-rich-and-self-involved, artsy-fartsy adventures at "bettering" herself with her woefully rich and painfully boring gal pals.
I finished the booked feeling incredibly let down and sad that a writer I once lurved, who I pimped to anyone who would listen, morphed from a witty, fabuous, fearless, sarcastic biotch into an incredibly shallow, shadow of her former snarky self.
Can't say I will be buying her next offering...unless I find it in the discount bin of Book A Millon.
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2010
It's funny how the Amazon review system gives up to five stars, since Jen Lancaster's books started out with five and have now moved down to one. Truthfully, if I could have given negative stars, this would be the book that got them.
The author was at her best years ago, when she was broke and desperate and laugh out loud funny as she received her comeuppance and came through her unemployment a better person. She may not have been likeable at the beginning but at the end she was an every woman hero. Her second and third books tempered her growing arrogance with self deprecation that still entertained her readership. I loved the girl who threatened people with a shovel. I loved the girl with a fear of the scale. That girl is nowhere in this book. This book feels like it was written by the same lady who wrote the first pages of her first book. Lancaster has gone back to being unlikeable, unsympathetic and totally unfunny.
The book is little more than an expansion on her epilogue from Pretty in Plaid (a crapper in and of itself) which leads me to believe that the second Lancaster hit the NYT Bestseller list she stopped trying. That final chapter is a rant about how hard she worked and how successful she is and a step by step detail of how she basks in that success. No really. This book? The same drivel. She talks, again, about spending money most people don't have, doing things the former Jen couldn't do because she was flat broke and creative. I'm not entertained by a story where the heroin spends half my rent price on tea. I'm not amused by her segue on page 267 where she basically whines that she gets negative feedback because her readership is noticing that she has changed from wacky heroine to self-important snob. The majority of this book is available on her blog where she also whines about people who question her authenticity. However, on her blog, you can read, first hand, Jen's pleads to a personal army for a defense against those people who are being OMGSOMEAN. She also points out that she isn't speaking to her family and I can't help but wonder if it's because they don't condone her behavior. Finally, in case you forget, Jen spends a lot of time in her book reminding you that she and her husband are Republicans.
She claims that she never stated she'd stay broke forever, and she's right. It's unfortunate, though, because poor Jen was way more talented than Rich Jen. To put it bluntly, successful Jen successfully sucks.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2010
I love Lancaster's books, and have devoured them all in less than a day, but this one I struggled to get through it. She is a fantastic writer, but this book felt forced, and it wasnt that funny. At times, she comes off as snobbish. In her other books, you are in her corner the whole time, rooting for her and knowing that she will be successful in the end. During this book, I just wanted it to end. Definitely dont make this your first read of Lancaster's work....you might not come back.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2011
I'm thinking this may be the last book of hers I read. Like many of the other readers, I can't recommend Bitter is the New Black or Bright Lights, Big Ass enough. They are wet-your-pants-laughing-out-loud HYSTERICAL. Her early books were great, and she deserved every bit of the success she got from them. Such a Pretty Fat was amusing too, though not quite as good, and I think that was the beginning of her decline. The books have simply been getting less funny and more shallow, materialistic and mean spirited. I'm certainly not the only one who's noticed it, judging by other reviews.
Jen herself briefly addresses this in the book, noting she's in a much different place in her life, and responding that being professionally and financially well off is not a crime. She wrote that there's nothing inherently wrong with owning a Prada bag if it doesn't own you. The problem is that her writing in this book makes it seem like she IS owned by these things. She gloats about her A-list treatment and possessions (buying a high end car because it has a refrigerator compartment, spending $400 in a tea shop), while continuing to spew the Fox News-style canards of a moneyed conservative. It doesn't happen all the time, but just enough to be in very poor taste, especially given the state of the economy. (To be fair she was vocal about her conservative views in the books she wrote while struggling too. Still, if I want to read political commentary, I look for a book in the political section.)
This isn't a new phenomenon in her writing, but the early books were so incredibly funny that you could overlook it. Unfortunately the payoff simply isn't there anymore. I applaud her desire to evolve as a writer and grow as a person, but it doesn't seem like she's moving in a terribly appealing direction. It's extremely rare for me not to finish a book, but I only got about halfway through this one. The sole reason I got that far into it was because her friends, family, and animals made for more interesting reading than she did.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Reading Jen Lancaster has always been a bit like having a "mean girl" whispering in your ear at the high school lunch table: you laugh at how true and funny her comments are, even as you squirm a little bit when she goes over the top. Her persona has always been a delicate balance of humor and snark. In her first 3 books, what made it work was that she was the underdog in some way: unemployed and going broke in the first book, struggling to make ends meet in the second, worrying about her weight in the third. That gave her a sort of underdog vulnerability that made her meaner comments more palatable. But that's gone now. In her latest book, the humor is still there, but without some sort of vulnerability to balance it, she's just a bully. For instance, Jen she is a bestselling author and that fact is actually a recurring theme as she uses her status to get better hotel service, punish poor servers in a restaurant, and get more attention at a Hamptons event. The supposed theme of the book is her desire to "culture up" and become less lazy, but that is a weak frame. She eats some unfamiliar food, goes to some art shows, and makes occasional reference to reading something other than chick lit. Really, though, what she is describing is the life of a pampered housewife, taking on occasional vanity projects and claiming to want to do good, in the same way the Bravo housewives throw huge parties for the homeless. It's all for show. There are still some funny bits in the book. But it's mostly the work of a smug mean girl who thinks she has conquered the world and can do no wrong.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2010
I've read and enjoyed all of Lancaster's other books but this one was just not enjoyable. It wasn't relate-able and I tired very quickly of being reminded of her political leanings. I enjoy reading this type of book to get AWAY from that sort of thing.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2010
Life as we know it? Average. Life as Jen Lancaster knows it? Hilarious.
MY FAIR LAZY is Jen's foray into self-enlightenment. She wonders if it is time to get off the couch, away from TV Reality Shows and venture into the world of culture. At the same time, she has a reflection that perhaps if she were a "kinder, gentler" Jen she might have more success, or at least not piss off quite as many people around her.
This is a great premise for her to explore with her wit and sarcasm. For anyone not familiar with her work, she is a bit like an "bitter Seinfeld" and her observations on life and all the people surrounding her are truly entertaining.
If you have been a fan of her books right from the beginning (Bitter is the New Black) you will love this book. However, be prepared that she has actually softened an ever-so-tiny bit...to my pleasant surprise! Having read all of her books (which, by the way, I strongly recommend before just jumping into this one, though it can certainly stand alone..why miss out?) I have seen her grow from a very bitter, bitingly sarcastic, fairly angry and even occasionally caustic person into a slightly (emphasis on that word) more laid back version of that same woman. I can't help but feel that I have had a part in that. Okay, so I only read her books, but still...it's been like watching my child develop into well rounded individual (minus all the college tuition bills).
During Jen's explorations she makes some great strides in "culturing up" as she puts it, and gains some insight regarding her personality, most importantly without losing her Fabulous self. I think one of her friends says it best at one point in the book, telling her that it might not be about what she is saying...but about what she is listening to. A lesson we could ALL learn, grudgingly, as she does.
I most definitely recommend following Jen as she leaps off the couch and into the "real world"!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2011
Jen is officially unfunny and unlikeable. Enough has been said about this self-indulgent crapfest, so I won't elaborate too terribly much. She completely lost me during the chapter in which she gets botox, restylane, veneers and hair extensions in one day, not to mention the 10 course dinners and $100 lunches. She's "made it" and I don't begrudge her these apparent necessities or her success. However, I do think it's pretentious and unrelatable. If she really wanted to expand her horizons, she could do charity work in a soup kitchen or a women's shelter.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
The thing I loved about this author in her first two books was that you felt like you could really relate to her, but at the same time she often took things to that next level that most of us never would dare to (but it's fun to hear about someone who did). I skipped the Pretty in Plaid book which didn't sound interesting at all. This one attraced me because I tend to get sucked into watching too much reality tv too. But, Jenn watches so much reality TV and is so involved in it that it seemed kind of creepy and possibly verging on pathetic. Admitting that she and her dog share a tendancy to pee in swimming pools and acting like the potentially fatal combination of booze and Ambiens is harmless fun were also big turn offs for me. But what was really lost here is the relatablity factor. Much of the book is descriptions of fancy multi course meals, plays, literature and dance recitals. If you want to read about that sort of thing there are plenty of better books and publications with much more interesting descriptions. Her observations about these cultural experiences were kind of pretentious and not very funny or interesting. I realize she has big bucks now and she is certainly entitled to enjoy her new income level. But, it does not necessarily make for the funny reading material which we have come to expect from this author. She spend a great deal of time in the book doing things with friends, but you never really learn much about these people. Their only role in her eyes seem to be to contribute to whatever self involved little project she has going on. If I am going to hear about these people over and over, maybe tell more about who they are besides what they do for the author. In short, not a bad book, but definitely not up to the level of the first two.